Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stood firm in the House of Commons in supporting his International Cooperation Minister. The opposition parties have been unrelenting in demanding her resignation or firing, neither of which is likely. And the whole brouhaha will, in all likelihood, be forgotten by the public by the time MPs return to Ottawa. Not surprising, when a recent poll suggests only 15% of Canadians follow federal politics.
However, as Andrew Coyne writes in a must-read column on MacLean's.ca, "This is about whether this government can be held to basic norms of civilized democratic behaviour." Why should it start? The conservative base in this country - the only Canadians that Prime Minister Stephen Harper cares about - sees nothing morally wrong with a government that lies. As long as it's a Conservative government. It stinks.
In just a few days, this story has gone beyond Bev Oda to being a question of Stephen Harper's ethics - his sense of right and wrong. To have a photograph of Oda smoking a cigarette on the home page of theglobeandmail.com is, quite simply, poor form for The Globe and Mail to display in its home page. Any for the media to mock her wearing sunglasses is childish. It detracts from the crisis that the nation faces. Do Canadians want Stephen Harper single-handedly running this country or a civilized parliament democracy?
Oda's actions in the "not" affair that has played out this week are highly questionable, but to allude to her overall character as being questionable by showing her as a smoker implies that she is a bad person.
As the critical thinking about smoking has formed:
Smoking cigarettes is bad;That's unsound and completely invalid because not all smokers are bad people. (Harper doesn't smoke.) And to draw Oda's addiction to cigarettes, while she is undergoing tremendous professional and personal stress, is irrelevant to the political debate.
Smokers smoke cigarettes;
Therefore, smokers are bad.
As U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said in a recent Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, "It's a bad habit, but I have it. It's a legal product. I choose to smoke. Leave me alone."
Bev Oda and the Prime Minister should not be left alone about what actually transpired, but Oda should be left alone to smoke privately.